Lost paradise is found at 10 unassuming beaches

Tired of going to your favourite beach haunts, only to find it overtaken by crowds of beach-goers? Perhaps it is time to plan a visit to less well-known beaches which can offer a relaxing summer vacation without the need to compete for space with other people.

Online travel agent ZUJI has handpicked 10 unassuming beach locations around the world that will take you away from the crowds, while still being a stone's throw from civilisation.

Bali's Amed beach, for instance, offers a breath-taking view of the sunrise as well as great diving and snorkelling activities. While there, visitors can also explore the seaside villages and other local attractions such as the Tirta Gangga Water Palace and Goa Lawah Temple.

Another beach location to check out is the family-friendly Pinarallo Beach in Corsica, France. This 1.2km-long beach boasts azure blue waters set against a stunning backdrop, with a picturesque long stretch of white sand and fragrant pine trees scattered right up to the beach. Beach-goers can also hang out at refreshment kiosks and take part in water sports activities.

Here are more unassuming beach locations chosen by ZUJI that offers you that relaxing vacation away from the hustle and bustle of crowds.

1. Banana Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Locals know it as Haad Hin Gluai, or Banana Rock Beach, for the shape of a rock formation jutting out of the sea on the bay's south end. Savvy tourists know it for being one of Phuket's last secret beaches and a peaceful escape from the city's tourist hustle. Found on a tiny bay, the beach can only be reached by long tail boat or a jungle path. Although it may be a little tricky to get to, it promises tranquillity and beauty with its crystal clear waters.

2. Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Floating in the warm turquoise waters in the Gulf of Thailand is Phu Quoc Island, a gorgeous tropical paradise fringed with white-sandy beaches. Known for its untouched natural environment, chilled atmosphere, friendly locals and amazing scuba diving and snorkelling, Phu Quoc's peak season runs from November to March. Night life is a little quieter, so opt for daytime adventures instead, like exploring in the reefs or kayaking in the bay. For something more laid back, indulge in a massage or dine on the freshest seafood by the beach.

3. Al-Mamzar Beach Park, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Situated in the Al Hamriya area, Al Mamzar Beach Park has not one, but four inviting beaches with protected swimming areas and lifeguards. Spread out across 106-hectres, the part surf and part turf man-made beach park offers white sandy beaches with bristling palm trees, winding foot and bike paths, and a couple of pools. Not too far off, you will find kiosks and open grass patches that are great for picnics and barbeques. Rentable chalets are also available, especially if you're looking to pamper yourself with a little VIP treatment.

4. Fort Tilden, New York, USA

At Fort Tilden, you will have plenty of sand all to yourself. This unspoiled beach has to be one of the best "undiscovered" New York City finds. Located near an abandoned military installation in Rockaway Peninsula, Queens, you will find one of the most serene stretches of sand within the city limits. Even on a weekend at the height of summer, you will get a 45-metre stretch of beach to yourself. On weekdays, the entire expanse is all yours. Although it can be tough to get there, just rent a car out of the city, gather your friends and make it a mini road trip.

5. Amed, Bali, Indonesia

The name "Amed" refers to several small fishing villages located along Bali's East Coast. With breath-taking sunrises and great diving and snorkelling, it is surprising that this gem is still a tourist secret. The seaside villages are part of Amed's wonderful charm, and the views of Gunung Agung are another reason for visitors to stay on and take it all in. Approximately two and a half hours from the south, passing through the Karangasem and Klungkung regencies, it is also a great base for travellers to explore other local attractions such as the Tirta Gangga Water Palace and Goa Lawah Temple.

6. Pinarello Beach, Corsica, France

Frequented mainly by those in the know, Pinarallo Beach is a picturesque long stretch of white sand with fragrant pine trees scattered right up to the beach. Strategically hidden in the gulf of Pinarello in a tiny fishing hamlet, the 1.2km long beach boasts azure blue waters set against a stunning backdrop and overlooked by a Genoese watchtower. With a quaint port, refreshment kiosks, and opportunities for water sports, Pinarallo Beach is a popular family-friendly beach destination.

7. Seychelles Beach, Ikaria, Greece

Situated 25km west of Agios Kirikos is where you will find one of Ikaria's most intriguing beaches. Surrounded by natural rock formations, Seychelles Beach boasts an intimate cove with crystal clear turquoise waters. If you are up for a little exploring, there is a hidden cave located on a small cove adjacent to the main beach.

8. Ngapali Beach, Myanmar

With palm-lined beaches and pristine white sand on the Bay of Bengal's blue water, Ngapali beach serves as the country's coastline hot-spot for wealthy locals and tourists. As the beach faces the west, don't miss out on its beautiful auburn evening sunsets when you're there. Apart from soaking up sun rays, visitors can also enjoy fishing, snorkelling or take a tour out to the nearby islands, which are equally as stunning. Looking to explore the grounds? Take a walk down to the main road and rent a motorbike to see a different side of the coast.

9. Muriwai Beach, Auckland, New Zealand

For a local look into the Kiwi surf lifestyle, make a half-hour drive west of Auckland to Muriwai Beach. On arrival, you'll be faced with amazing black sand and a gorgeous rugged ocean front. The beach itself is 60 km long and welcomes sunbathers, swimmers or even those who just prefer a nice stroll along the coastline. For travellers who like to trek, there is a walking track from the sand up to the surrounding cliffs which offer breath-taking landscape views.

10. Koh Rong Island, Cambodia

As the second largest island of Cambodia, Koh Rong Island is located about 25km off Sihanoukville's coast in the Gulf of Thailand. Surrounding the island are seven bays, all teeming with marine life, making it great for snorkelling and diving. There is plenty to do on the island, even enough to keep the most active visitor busy - from mountain biking, trekking, and even motorbike trekking. With 43km of beach, Koh Rong has one of the most undeveloped, beautiful beaches in Asia.

ngkaren@sph.com.sg

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